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Consumer Confidential: More Coke, fast-food breakfasts for kids, less salt

Here's your watching-the-detectives Wednesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- When the going gets tough, the tough drink sugar water. Coca-Cola Co. says its quarterly income jumped 16% as sales of its soft drinks and juices rose everywhere except Europe. The company says it earned $2.37 billion during the most recent three-month period, with worldwide sales up 5%. Those maddeningly health-conscious Europeans were the odd ducks in Coke's equation, favoring good-for-you beverages such as tea over dollops of high-fructose corn syrup and sugar. What's with these people, right?

-- Speaking of things you probably won't see a lot of in Europe, Burger King has introduced a "kids' meal" for breakfast costing $3.38. The meal includes an egg-and-cheese English muffin sandwich, apple fries and apple juice. Burger King is apparently one of the first restaurant chains to trundle out a breakfast offer specifically targeting children. The company says its kids' meal has fewer than 560 calories.

-- Since we have a theme going here, one more foodie item: Our friends at Del Monte Foods Co. say they'll cut the amount of added salt by at least 20% in all vegetable, tomato and broth products containing added salt. The decision follows similar moves by the likes of ConAgra Foods Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. Unfortunately, Del Monte says it won't be able to make its products healthier until 2015. I guess it takes a lot of time to not put extra salt in food.

-- David Lazarus

 
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